Florida’s governor disclosed late Sunday that two people had become the first in his state to test “presumptively positive” for COVID-19 and ordered his top health officer to declare a statewide public health emergency.
On Monday afternoon, the cases were officially confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Florida Department of Health website.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement that the cases arose in the counties of Manatee and Hillsborough. His announcement did not identify the individuals. COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family.
Officials said they learned of both cases Saturday night after both individuals tested positive in local labs and were awaiting further confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That confirmation happened about 48 hours later.
There are eight other cases pending test local results, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Florida’s surgeon general Dr. Scott Rivkees said the patient in the Tampa area is a woman in her 20s who recently traveled to Itlay, which has been among the countries hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus outside Asia. The patient is stable and under isolation at home, Rivkees said. Health officials are working closely with her to identify her close contacts and anyone who may have been exposed.
Authorities said the Manatee County patient is a man in his 60s had not been in any of the countries currently identified for restricted travel by federal authorities. It’s unknown how he was exposed to Covid-19, according to Rivkees. Health officials are working to determine how he was exposed to the virus. The patient is hospitalized.